Sunday, August 16, 2009

Trapped in a Flashback

I got carded today! No, seriously, I got carded today. I needed soda (no, I didn't' get carded for soda, can I finish) and I went to the gas station and an urge struck me- I wanted a Black and Mild cigar today. NO, I don't light them, I just like the taste of the air filtered through it. And no, I am not worried that I may have the desire to light one just once and thus start smoking again because I have been doing this for over two years, since I started not smoking, and I have only lit one once and got sick from it, so I am not really a smoker anymore it seems. Anything else, or may I continue?

SO I asked for a single Black and Mild and the lady asked me for ID; I began cracking up. It appeared she was not in on the joke by the look she gave me. It then appeared there was no joke not be in on; she really wanted to see my ID. I suddenly had a flashback to Boulder...

I had no car when I lived in Boulder, so it was not uncommon for me to walk about without my ID. I had been asked for it a few times in Boulder, sometimes with it, and other times without, and I found that it was easier to be without ID than it was to show a Florida ID in Colorado. I certainly didn't look 18 with my long hair, goat-tee, red blood shot eyes...Anywho

One day, it was a Sunday I believe, I found myself without cigarettes and intoxicants for the day- a bad way to find one's self in Boulder, and I walked to the corner store to acquire my daily supply of both, sans ID. It being a real store, my intoxicant of choice would be a local micro-brew and my cigarettes would be the cheapest being sold, for I was just a simple poor hippie wannabe- a home away from being homeless really.

As I approached the checkout line, I realized my lack of ID and thought it may be a problem, this being a "real" store, you know, nationwide chain instead of a Ma and Pa local. I was too lazy or stoned or both or neither to bother walking all the block back to my room and then back the entire block to the store just for ID I probably won't need, so I waited in line for my turn.

"Next" was my que...I was on.

"Hi,"I said as nonchalantly as possible while placing my beer directly between the two of us, "this and a pack of cigarettes please."

"Can I see some ID please?" There wasn't even a moment's hesitation! No pause, no thought, just rote recitation.

"I, um, left it at home."

"OK then," the clerk said firmly, "that will be seven dollars, forty-eight cents."

"Um," I was confused as to what she was ringing up, "the cigarettes are seven dollars?" I took a wild guess as cigarettes had the lower age requirement for purchase.

"No," she responded, "but the beer is. You have no ID."

"What?" I was really confused now, bordering on bewilderment with the next stop total discombobulation. "Let me get this straight, you can tell I am over 21 so the beer is OK, but I may not be over 18 so I get no cigarettes?"

"No," she said calmly, rehearsed, almost as if she had been through this exact scene 100 times before, "I can tell you are over 25, the age you must look to buy beer without an ID, but I can't tell if you are over 30, the age you must be to buy cigarettes without it."

How could I argue with that? She could easily have sold me the cigarettes without problem, but I guess she was doing her part to protest what, to her, was a stupid requirement. It worked I suppose. Here I am, 15 years later, writing about it, so it made an impact on me.

I was back at the chain store in the present with a clerk waiting for my ID. I took it out and gave her the type of smile you give a child when they ask a cute, yet stupid question, and said "here, I'm almost 40."

She suddenly got the joke.

3 comments:

VE said...

Better than getting asked if you'd like the senior discount! Has it already been over 2 years since you quit smoking. I remember them posts...

Kanrei said...

Hard to believe I know, but according to here, my last cigarette was Monday, July 30, 2007.

nanc said...

when in doubt, just ask, "excuse me, but i'd feel much better if you'd card me." when they ask, "are you over 18?" i love to say, "about three times that!"